Uganda: I Was Duped By MP On Jinja Land - Minister Tells Probe

The Minister of Lands, Betty Amongi on Tuesday told the land commission of inquiry that she was tricked by Jinja West MP into allocating 12 acres of land to an investor to build a shopping mall in Jinja District.

Ms Amongi made the revelation while explaining why she wrote a letter to the Speaker Jinja Municipal Council, Mr Moses Buzitu to consider giving land to Mr Thummar Mangalal Patel.

"The impression I was given was that the matter to allocate the land to the investor had come from State House," she told the commission.

Ms Amongi also told the commission that there were other politicians from Jinja who the MP said were in support of giving land to the investor. She, however, declined to name them.

The minister could not explain whether the same MP had lied to state Minister of Finance for Investment and Privatization Evelyn Anite to write a letter to her.

She said that because of the backing from Anite and the Jinja MP, she wrote the letter to the Jinja council even when she had not met the said investor.

Ms Amongi told the commission that she always writes such letters to councils recommending that investors are given land, as that is the 'procedure'.

"I have a standing directive from cabinet to fast track land for investors," she said.

However, the minister was shocked when the Commission, deputy lead council, Mr John Bosco Suuza told her that Mr Thummar (the investor) never applied for the land that was he allocated.

The Minister told the probe that prior to writing the letter, she had cancelled titles on the contested land and reverted it to Jinja Municipal Council.

She was 'surprised' that Jinja Municipal Council had given Mr Thummar a free hold instead of a lease hold title on the land.

Mr Harsdad Baroti of Turipati Development Uganda Limited dragged Jinja Municipal Council to the land probe accusing them of reallocating 12 acres of land on Plot 24B, Kyabazinga way, to Mr Thummar yet he had a 25year lease.

The minister said that among the titles she cancelled, none belonged to Turipati.

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